You’ve already read Ed’s take, my take and Erika’s take on different aspects of Hilary Rosen’s remarks (haven’t you? Please make my day and tell me you have!) — but Greta offers yet another perspective that I think is worth sharing because it enables us to take this discussion in a direction other than a defense of stay-at-home motherhood. In a post that Greta herself admits was hastily composed, the Fox News host defends her “friend” Hilary Rosen with this:
In making her remark about Mrs. Romney and her choice to raise a family and not work outside the home, I know Hilary knows raising children is hard work, really hard work…the absolute hardest work. Hilary has children. That is the best way to know the challenge of raising children – have them! Hilary is not anti-stay-at-home mom.
I did not read Hilary’s comments to in anyway take away from hard chore of raising children or staying at home and raising them and not working outside the family. I read it to mean that raising children without financial pressure is easier than having financial pressure. This is not to take away from Mrs. Romney – she has done a spectacular job raising 5 great sons – but to face the reality that financial pressure does make it harder to raise a family. This is also not to say that the Romney family success is anything to be ashamed of…the family should be very proud of its success. I admire success, don’t you?
Greta’s remarks invite nothing so much as they invite a critique of all the strategizing, consulting and soundbite construction that characterizes political communications these days. Here’s why: If Rosen meant to say that parenthood is made more difficult by financial pressure, then why didn’t she say that?
Either (a) she meant to say what she said or (b) she didn’t mean to say what she said but said it anyway. Why would she say it anyway? Maybe because she was on a TV program spouting opinions about a subject she really hasn’t thought all that deeply about because she just flat-out hasn’t had time to think deeply about it.
The irony of 24/7 communications — especially communications that are mediated by the, er, media — is that we’re often left wondering what the people with whom we’re communicating really meant to say and added layers of “walking back” or “doubling down” don’t usually help us to decipher the truth. If the evening news had any edge over 24/7 news and if print media had any edge over electronic media, it’s that nobody could use the excuse, “That’s not what I meant to say.” Nobody would plausibly believe that somebody spent all day working on saying something but then didn’t mean to say it.
Update: Rosen has issued this statement:
“I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended,” Rosen said in a statement. “Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.
“As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is,” Rosen said. “As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen.
“In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his poor record on the plight of women’s financial struggles. As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay-at-home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day.”
This only serves to underscore what I wrote above. Rosen still hasn’t taken responsibility for the ideas she expressed. She’s just saying she didn’t mean to offend and she chose her words poorly.